From the Archives 2002-03.    For From the Archives 2000-01 and 2001-02, click here.

Photographs from Princeton past and what our readers have to say about them.

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From the July 3, 2003, issue:
Leaving for home after Commencement, diploma tucked under his arm, is Baltimore's Edgar Allan Poe 1891. (His father, John Poe 1854, was a cousin of the poet.) Edgar and his five brothers contributed to many Princeton football victories between 1882 and 1902. During the Harvard game in 1889, an alumnus was asked by a Harvard man if Poe was related to the great Edgar Allan Poe; the alumnus responded, "He is the great Edgar Allan Poe."

From the June 4, 2003, issue:
William "Silas" Whitehead, Class of 1891, is nattily dressed to play what was long the most popular game at Princeton. Tennis began as an organized sport in 1882, when a group of undergraduates formed the Princeton Lawn Tennis Association. In 1884, Princeton joined the newly founded Intercollegiate Lawn Tennis Association. Since then, Princeton men's tennis has become the school's most successful men's varsity sport, with an all-time record of 864 wins, 250 losses, and six ties. Women's tennis, introduced in 1971-72, was one of Princeton's first women's varsity sports.
From Brad Bradford ’44: When I chose Princeton in 1940, one of its lures was Beasley's reputation. I practiced with the freshman contenders that fall and intended to try out in the spring even though I may have been far outclassed. But a Rockford friend, Clayt Gaylord, was president of the Rugby Club and the prospect of a spring trip to Nassau and playing before the Duke and Duchess of Windsor proved too good a deal to pass up. I never played tennis seriously again until the 1960s.
Coach - Protege Twist Serve Tale
The mention in the June 4 From the Archives item that men's tennis has been Princeton's most successful men's varsity sport brings to mind the strange relationship of Mercer Beasley and Frank Parker. Beasley coached the Tiger netters to undefeated seasons in '33, '34, and '38 and to Eastern intercollegiate championships in 1933, 1938, and 1941. He was inducted posthumously into the College Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001. Beasley had tutored Frank since he was 12 years old, and his second wife, Katherine Brown, had served "practically (as) a foster mother to her husband's protege."
But Katherine was closer in age to Frank than to Mercer. In 1938 she divorced Beasley to wed the 22-year-old Parker, who would go on to win national singles titles in 1944 and 1945.
Beasley said after the wedding that he had learned of the relationship a year earlier. "Both came to me and told me in my own house that they were in love," said Beasley. "They said the romance had been going on for three years." Frank would celebrate the silver anniversary of his wedding to his "foster mother," and the marriage would continue until Katherine's death years later. Frank died about the turn of the century. (I can't pin either one death date, but Frank was still teaching at the McClurg Center in downtown Chicago when I moved here ten years ago.)

From the May 14, 2003, issue: Where are these dapper seniors going? Houseparties? Or just a regular day of classes at Princeton in 1891? Dressed in rather formal attire, William Bergen and William Deemer, both Class of 1891, pose in front of Witherspoon Hall. The image is part of the University Archives' Student Photographers Series.  

From the April 23, 2003 issue: From the Student Photographers Series comes this photograph taken in the spring of 1891. A group of seniors laze about the green in front of Nassau Hall (Nassau Street is in the background). Pictured from left are Harmar Paxton, Paul Cary, William Spicer, Robert Watts, Isaac Brokaw (Class of 1893), George Dugan, Robert Robertson, Robert Strong, and Benjamin Jones.  

From the April 9, 2003 issue: Don Kratz ’62 sent this photo from the summer of 1962. The truck (named Elvira) and its crew had moved all the furniture from the Green Engineering Building to the new
E-Quad in time for the start of fall classes. Professor John Whitwell is in the tie and hard hat, and Kratz himself is shown in front with the stick. “It was a lively summer,” he says, “though some names have faded from memory.” Anyone recognize himself — or herself?
From Dennis Fowler ’63 p’94: With regard to the From the Archives photo in the April 9 issue, yes, the names have faded over the years. But then, I'm notorious for forgetting names.
I'm the dapper chap in the black stetson standing on the running board. I was Elvira's primary driver that summer, and still grieve over the time a telephone pole attacked her, damaging one of her side mirrors.
Elvira was of modest endowments, at least in terms of what are considered female attributes, but sturdy constitution. On her bow she wore a bra, found in a restroom at sometime during our efforts. It was an "AA" cup size, if I remember correctly. Complaints by town residents led to its removal, but being a sturdy lassie, Elvira bared her attributes without shame. She had a tailgate with a hydraulic lift which would have given her the power to pick up a whole squad of sailors at one time, had we let her.
I took away many lessons from that summer, the most valuable being how to move, single-handedly with no more than the aid of a dolly, a double pedestal Steelcase office desk.

From the March 23, 2003 issue: Spring means baseball season, and from the university archives’ Student Photographers Series comes this circa 1891 picture of two Tiger baseball players waiting in what was then called “the battery” for their turn to get in the game. The 1891 baseball team, captained by senior Charles C. Dana, twice beat Yale in its final two games to end the season with a 15-6 record.  

From the March 12, 2003 issue:The snowy winter of 2003 brings to mind the great blizzard of 115 years ago. Here, some two dozen students are helping to dig out the Dinky after the blizzard of March 12, 1888. Taken with a Kodak box camera, this photo comes from the university archives’ Student Photographers Series.  

From the February 26, 2003 issue:This circa 1891 view from 20 Witherspoon Hall looks out over the observatory and, to its right, the gymnasium, with University Hall visible through the trees. Can anyone tell us what stands in their place today? Taken with a Kodak box camera, the photo is part of the university archives’ Student Photographers Series.  

John ’63 and Mary Heilner: We were delighted to see the old photo that heads up the Class Notes page in the February 26. We were particularly interested because we believe it shows our house situated between the observatory and University Hall on University Place. We have another photo, courtesy of the Princeton Historical Society, that shows our home in this same spot, although from another angle.
Our house was formerly known as The Cottage and was used as the site of one of the earliest eating clubs, which consequently called itself Cottage Club. The house was moved in 1907 to its present position on Library Place. We believe it was moved to make way for the expanding campus and that Campbell-Joline and Hamilton now sit where the house and the observatory previously were and that University Hall is now where Madison Holder Halls are situated.
If you should have other photos showing the house, we would be delighted to see them. We are trying to piece together the history of the house and any and all information pertaining to it would be most welcome.

Ben Kessler: Regarding the view from Witherspoon Hall c.1891 pictured in the February 26: Halsted Observatory (1865-72) was replaced by Joline Hall in 1932; University Hall (originally University Hotel, 1875-76) was demolished in 1916 and replaced by Madison Hall; Bonner-Marquand Gymnasium (1868-70) was demolished in 1907 to make way for Campbell Hall.

From the February 12, 2003 issue: This circa 1891 dorm room looks quite a bit more ornate than those of today — notice the elaborate dresser, tapestries, carpet, and curtains. The photographs’s lounging students, however, despite their formal dress, prove that the art of dorm-room “hanging out” hasn’t changed. This photo, taken by a student with a Kodak box camera, is part of the university archives’ Student Photographers Series.

From the January 29, 2003 issue: This circa 1891 student photograph shows a boisterous snowball fight, with West College and Reunion Hall in the background. With all the snow Princeton has had this winter, perhaps a school-wide snowball fight could replace the now-banned Nude Olympics as a wintertime tradition? The photo, part of the university archives’ Student Photographers Series, was taken with a Kodak box camera.  

From the 12/18/02 issue:
This 1891 student photograph of a Princeton football practice was taken with a Kodak box camera. With the camera’s introduction in 1888, student photography became more common, and some Tigers may even have developed their own photos in the John C. Green School of Science. The players out on this field are part of Princeton football history, as the 1891 season still holds the record for the longest streak of games (12) in which the Tigers were unscored upon.

From the 12/04/02 issue:
From the personal collection of Henry Patton ’35 comes this photo from a party given for several recently graduated Princetonians who traveled to Japan at the invitation of classmate Muneyori Terashima ’35, or “Terry.” Pictured with the many women are (standing) Terashima, (sitting) Oliver Langenberg ’35, Doug Gorman ’35, friend Champ Robinson, Masaru Debuchi ’34, and Patton. While there was sake and even Scotch to be had, Patton recalls of the party, “I thought it would never end.”

From the 11/20/02 issue:
In the 19th century, a “poler” was an overzealous student. For Poler’s Recess, a respite from the grind of exam preparations, undergraduates threw open their windows at the 9 p.m. curfew and made as much noise as possible to relieve tension. From musical instruments to shotgun fire, students produced a clamor so admirable that in 1918 local soldiers thought the Germans were invading. Poler’s Recess faded in the mid-1930s and disappeared during the ’40s. In January 1949, it resumed, and Holder Hall residents were commended in the Prince for their use of firecrackers and flaming tennis balls. But the revival did not take hold, and Princeton’s raucous version of the primal scream became a campus memory.


Stephen Lardieri '94: Regarding the Poler'sRecess of years gone by: In the early 1990s, the residents of Rockefeller College revived the tradition of auditory stress relief, renaming it the Holder Holler. Each night at midnight — undergraduate curfews being somewhat later than they were in previous eras — the windows of Holder would fly open, and the courtyard would fill with the primal screams of overworked freshmen and sophomores. Quickly would the cry spread to the Blair Courtyard in Mathey, thence to the rest of campus.
Whether the tradition continues, I do not know.

From the 11/06/02 issue:
During the late 1960s and early ’70s, many campus pranks involved nudity. One of the most mysterious characters was the Red Baron, who ran through classrooms dressed only in red accessories (such as a World War I flier’s hat, and a cape and tennis shoes). This era also saw the start of the rugby team’s annual springtime “jock runs,” wearing either jockstraps or nothing at all. During Houseparties weekend in 1966, some Cannon Club members and their dates staged an early morning game of nude volleyball. Even before Richard “El Deuco Perverto” Goodman ’74, Charlie “The Streak” Bell ’76, and the streaking craze of 1974, nude sprints around campus were not uncommon.

From the 10/23/02 issue:
In March 1864, a daring undergraduate climbed the Nassau Hall tower and took the bell clapper. Since students were called to class by the bell, a missing clapper was an excuse to skip. In later years, stealing the clapper became a rite of honor for freshmen, and students became creative in their attempts to uphold tradition. Many scaled the outside walls to reach the cupola; others hid inside the building until the late hours. In 1986 students dressed as workmen removed the clapper in broad daylight.
The university vacillated between making it easier and harder for student thieves. In lenient times, Nassau Hall was even left unlocked. But when students were injured one year, the university installed alarms in the belfry. The clapper was permanently removed in 1992, when a student fell from the roof and was badly hurt.


From the 10/0902 issue:
In 1865 freshmen were not allowed to carry gentlemen’s canes; this privilege was reserved for sophomores and upperclassmen. One evening, when impudent freshmen were strolling on Nassau Street with their carved sticks, sophomores attempted to seize the canes, and a small riot erupted. Within several years, the behavior became formalized into an annual battle between the two classes. Selected representatives would fight for possession of a cane, after which entire classes would participate in a “rush.” By the mid-1930s, one goal of this giant melee was the removal of the rival class’s clothing. After World War II, the Cane Spree competition was managed by the Department of Athletics.

Fromthe 9/11/02 issue:
Hazing was a part of Princeton student life since the earliest days of the College of New Jersey, though the practice had multiple names and forms over the years. Sophomores taught freshmen their place in the social hierarchy by forcing them to perform degrading acts, awakening “newys” with cold water, head shaving, and occasional physical abuse. Though hazing was technically forbidden by the 20th century, the nearly identical practice of “horsing” rose in its place. After horsing was abolished, freshmen were still subjected to extensive restrictions on their behavior and dress, such as mandatory “dink” wearing. Though these customs eased up during World War II, postwar classes attempted to revive some of the traditions, resulting in “dink wars” and a revival of head shaving. By the mid-1960s, however, freshmen hazing fell out of popularity and practice.